5 predictions for the future of digital advertising and marketing

As a creative agency, here at Thirst we often find ourselves discussing what the future holds… for design, products, brands, advertising and most importantly, individuals. The landscape of the commercial world is constantly shifting, with change the only certainty.

Want to know more? Here’s our top five predictions for the future of digital marketing and advertising.

The rise of online Video Ads

I’ll set the scene for you: you’re watching your favourite TV show and the ad break begins. Let me guess, you’re on your phone, maybe scrolling through your Facebook feed? There’s a cute cat video, so you may as well watch it while you wait, right?

This is the case for many people these days. We fill the ad break void with other content, whether it is social media or news on our phones or other devices. With more and more people tuning out of television advertising and with the rapid rise of content intake via social media, the dynamic of how advertisers reach consumers is dramatically shifting.

If The Voice was to get 1.5 million viewers for a mid-season episode, that would be an incredible achievement for advertisers. Compare this to more than 1 billion users streaming around 4 billion videos every day, and there’s no doubt that YouTube is a force to be reckoned with. YouTube is not alone in producing numbers that TV stations could only dream of, Vimeo, Vevo, newcomer Vessel and many others, not to mention the likes of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime are all competing for our eyes.

With such large audiences comes great opportunity. Advertisers have long seen YouTube as a great marketing avenue, however, no-one likes to be interrupted by long pre-video ads, and if given the option to skip, 80–85% of viewers will do so. The challenge to advertisers is to either make their ads so interesting/funny/engaging that viewers don’t want to skip, or to focus on developing short, sharp ads that are around five seconds long.

If anything, the skip button ensures that brands and agencies are accountable for creating good, engaging ads. Expect to see a much larger focus on well-produced and entertaining online ads on the horizon.

For a great example of advertising crafted for Youtube, check this out.

Audio ad comeback

With the recent launch of Apple Music and continued popularity of Spotify, Rdio, Pandora and other music streaming services, audio is back in a big way.

Pretty soon we will see Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and other big players putting their technology into our cars. We can already listen to a stack of digital radio ads in the car, or simply plug our phones straight into the stereo and access our podcasts, playlists. The ability to control what you listen to at all times will make things difficult for commercial radio stations. We have already seen the radio industry start to produce some great content and evolve to be more than just an audio platform, but will it be enough?

While free users of Spotify are well acquainted with the annoying, intermittent ads blasted between songs, it still hasn’t been enough for Spotify to make a profit in over three years! With growing competition the battle is on for streamers. Exclusive content, video integration and, as we’ve come to expect, more advertising avenues will all play a part in winning the market share of consumers and profits.

This battle is not only limited to the music streamers, but the maturing network of podcasters and niche digital radio stations all fighting for our ears. This growing battle could cue the return of premium audio advertising. We can only wait and see how advertisers and brands use these new technological avenues to their advantage.

Personal digital assistant advertising

With Microsoft launching their highly entertaining and highly rated Cortana, Siri back in the spotlight with her witty 0÷0 pun and Google heavily advertising its Google Now service — will our virtual assistants start to serve us up ads next time we ask for help?

Let’s look at the facts. These personal assistants are designed to learn about you from everything you ask them. They learn your routines, where you like to shop, what cuisine you like best, what movies you prefer… the list goes on. Hell, Siri probably knows more about you than some of your best friends.

Picture this: you are travelling for work and ask “Ok Google, what restaurants are nearby”. Similar to PPC advertising, businesses could bid for the top spot on Google’s recommendations list. With this technology being continuously refined and improved, it might not be that far off…

Location based advertising

We are already beginning to see the emergence of location based services. Practically every app you download wants to access your location, and for very good reason. More and more brands and businesses are looking to improve the validity of their advertising spend. With more “targeted” methods becoming a focal point for media companies, it won’t be too long before the true nature of location based advertising kicks off.

Just imagine, you’re walking past a florist when you receive a notification:

“John, it’s Mother’s Day tomorrow, make Susan’s day and get her a bunch of wild roses. Usually $50 but beat the rush and stop in today and pay only $25.”

John could even pay right then and there on his phone and set a pickup or delivery time. The potential for marketers is endless (and perhaps a little bit scary!) when it comes to location based advertising. I personally can’t wait to see how this shapes the future of consumerism.

Self service on a whole new scale

Self service is not a new thing. Everyone has been through a self-service supermarket checkout. It can be all kinds of frustrating sometimes, but most of the time I find it fast, convenient and slightly satisfying. Not to mention it saves supermarkets a lot of money now only one staff member is required to oversee around ten self service stations.

Now think about all the people working in McDonalds, or any other fast food restaurant. With the growing use of PayPal, PayWave and, once they hit our shores, Apple Pay and other mobile payment systems, consumers has an abundance of payment options to choose from.

Will we have the ability to order and pay for McDonalds on our phone and just collect our meal when it is ready? The technology already exists, so I believe that in time, we will see a whole lot more self-service rolling out into different industries.

What will this mean for the retail world? For the youth just looking for their first job? For bricks and mortar stores? I guess time will tell, but if there was one assumption I would back every time, it’s the ability of people to adapt and change with the times.

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